REVIEW: La Ventana, Dalston
WHAT? A spanking new Spanish restaurant in Dalston Square, from the people behind the ever-excellent La Farola.
Brunch fiends across North London will gush about Angel stalwart La Farola given the chance; tales of heavenly huevos rotos, Spanish tostadas and eggs romesco just eclipsing the excellent coffee. Now super passionate foodie Alper Mestan hopes to lure fans to a similar venture close by, with a bigger space and larger-than-life cocktail options.
WHERE: A cavernous space in Dalston Square makes room for salsa lessons and late night parties fuelled by plate upon plate of exceptional tapas, plus sangria by the bucketload.
WHY GO? The food is quite simply excellent, celebrating Meditteranean flavours from breakfast through to dinner.
We began our visit with chargrilled ciabatta bread and charcutería, a delicious Jamón ibérico whetting the appetite for bresaola (air-dried, salt-cured beef) and coarse grained chorizo.
Next came king prawns sautéed with garlic, olive oil and hot chili peppers, and perfectly cooked chipirones (lightly fried baby squid). Panko-crumbed, oven-roasted chicken croquettes were crisp and golden, served with a moreish aioli sauce. At Alper’s recommendation, we opted for grilled artichokes served with coriander, chickpeas and roasted pepper puree, which tasted exceptional as the vegetable is currently in season. The courgette flowers in tempura are a great option for veggies, stuffed with goats cheese and drizzled with honey.
Our star dish had to be the grilled ribeye, served with a smokey onion mash and thyme gravy. Desserts are indulgent, and don’t feel like an afterthought – try anything from Catalan milk and egg crème brulée to churros, a traditional Spanish deep-fried doughnut pastry, served with dark chocolate sauce.
Treat yourself, by all means – but be sure to leave enough room for a boogie. Alper has big plans to make this a lively salsa spot as the night wears on, and your only regret would be missing out due to a (happily) full belly.
DETAILS: Laventanalondon.co.uk / Dalston Square, London, E8 3DT / +44 20 7249 1077